Ainge: 'Rondo has a lot to prove'

We might not know exactly when Rajon Rondo will return to the basketball floor, thought we should find out sometime around 4:30 today. What we do know is that when does return, he'll have a good deal to prove about his own worth. And perhaps no one believes that more, than Danny Ainge

via Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has repeated many times that he expects Rondo to have the best season of his NBA career. He dismissed the idea that Rondo's status as a potential unrestricted free agent is driving him -- Rondo almost certainly is going to command maximum money regardless of how this season plays out -- but Ainge is certain that the way Rondo has faded from the national spotlight will drive the 28-year-old point guard.

"I can't wait to see him play. He just has a lot to prove," Ainge said. "I just see it in him. He's really dying to get out there and play. I'm excited for him."

There are plenty of reasons to be excited for the Boston Celtics season this year, but in my opinion, there's not a close second to this. If you're aRondo fan, or a Rondo believer, this has to be your best possible situation: Rajon Rondo has spent the past 18 months either injured or recovering from being injured. In that time, a player who once outperformed Lebron James in a playoff, has had his value questioned. He's been labeled a coach killer. A guy who doesn't want to be in Boston anymore. A guy who is extremely difficult to work with. A guy who no one likes to play with. Idiots like Gary Tanguay have said that he's "just not a Celtic."

He'll enter his contract season with all of that in mind. Whether the results are good, bad, and in between, I do think we'll have as good of an understand of what Rajon Rondo really is (and is not) by the conclusion of this season.